HOW TO RAISE EMOTIONALLY/SOCIALLY HEALTHY WOLFDOG PUPS
Socializing/Raising wolfdog pups regardless of their content...some important key pointers....REMEMBER....THEY HAVE A STRONG/UBER NEED TO CONNECT, and are highly distressed or problematic when not connected, this is were training can break down. Connect by gentle firmness, leadership, direction, affection. Ample time spent doing this, is the key. They cannot be isolated from you, and you expect them to just obey....they wont, you are the pack so that translates, as time spent establishing roles.
Daily handling starting as early as 10 days old by direct family and or members of human pack is vital; remember pups (both wolf, wolfdog, and dog) are very susceptible to disease at this point and interaction with people outside of the family can pose a health hazard. Precautions should be followed for safe handling/bonding.
“Human handlers must begin contact early, preferably between 10-14 days of the pup's birth. Please use lots of hand sanitizer, keep plenty on hand, and clean clothes. Remember to take off shoes and put them up...and Lysol everything. If in doubt wipe down, you can never be clean enough. Disease is brought in on us..and our shoes. The last thing you want to lose your pup. I know it sounds extreme, but until they have their shots, this is just a given. As they get older and their antibodies start to build, they likelihood of disease is diminished, not away completely and out of the woods. Please seek proper vet advise if questions arise.
Research has demonstrated that if a wolfdog pup is not handled during the critical bonding period of its first 21 days, it may respond with very fearful behavior towards people and in captivity, the higher the content, the more the concern. We suggest if at all possible, wolfdog pups/cubs should be placed with new owners as soon as weened, around 4 weeks for the critical bonding and imprinting towards new owners regardless of the wolf content, there is no way as to predict how genes are expressed in both physical and behavioral, so best to be on top of it in proper socialization training ect.
Handling of wolfdog pups/cubs must continue to prevent a lapse in socialization. Some may disagree with us as traditional dog pups would go home at 9 weeks plus...but we have found from working with our wolfdog pups, 4 weeks is optimal, this works best for dialing in the animal with the new owner and proper bonding, this make training easier, transition smoother. Its not
saying a older pup cannot work well, alot has to do with other factors such as socialization, handling/direction, content of the wolf present in the genes ect. Its also critical not to let the pup spend to much time with other animals, as they can become to animal/pack oriented as not bond as well with humans, key is
balance. A little introduction is fine, however when wolfdog pups are that young, they are naturally programmed to be pack oriented and will gravitate towards were the most time is
spent. You do not want the pup to become too dog oriented, instead of them bonding with you, limit this time in the beginning,
as it can make training the wolfdog pup more difficult. Key again, balance as to not cause to much stress, or a anxiety disorder. This is should always done in little time increments as the pup matures, adding more time for each and every new situation based on their reaction.
Training the wolfdog pup is also better one on one, with no other animals around or person's. It forces them to dial into you as the Alpha. Taking the wolfdog pup to a new
surrounding will also help facilitate the training, as you are funneling all his attention making them to be forced to trust you, TRUST IS HUGE IN TRAINING AND BONDING. They want a calm, collective strong leader, not a spaz, this gives them emotional stability that reduces behavioral fear
A second period of critical bonding for wolfdog pups occurs at 6-8 weeks.
Between six and eight weeks of age, a pup’s willingness to approach and make contact with strangers outweighs his natural wariness. Past studies, however, suggest a shorter time frame—7 ½ to 8 weeks (Serpell & Jagoe, 1999; Slabbert & Rassa, 1993; and Fox and Stelzner, 1966). Please again think about the health of animal and make sure you are starting the vaccination schedule as to not put them at risk by exposer.
During this phase, a pup should be gradually exposed to potentially frightening stimuli such as kids, the postman, vacuum cleaners, spray cans, street noises, loud noises, etc. Between eight and twelve weeks of age, the pup should also be introduced to the places, circumstances, and conditions that he is likely to have to face as an adult. Not only do pups form attachments to people during this sensitive stage, but also to places.
Here is a great schedule for proper wolfdog pup development
Developmental Stages of Wolfdog Puppy Behavior
A puppy needs proper, appropriate and regular socialization in
order to grown into a well-adjusted adult dog. This guide explains the different stages puppies go through as they grow.
The developmental tasks of this period all involve learning appropriate social behavior with other dogs, animals and the PACK. Interactions with mother and siblings teach bite inhibition, appropriate submissive and attention-soliciting behavior, attention-receptive behavior, and general confidence with other dogs. The who am I and what am I stage...and who are you?
Orphan wolfdog puppies and single-pup litters are at a disadvantage when it comes to learning how to be a wolfdog among wolfdogs. Some of these lessons can be learned later (though how late is too late has not been clearly determined) under carefully arranged and supervised conditions. Orphan wolfdog puppies, especially those bottle-fed from a very early age without mother or siblings, make very problematic pets without knowledgeable remedial behavior shaping, this is learned alot from other canines.
Mothers just have that way of literally nipping at their heels and faces when they are being to pushy...we call it the start of Alpha training, this training
becomes much more exaggerated and forceful as they grow. The mothers and other pack members will start to what we call "ROlling" The pups can get rolled or forced on to their backs if the pack is unhappy, or checking their behavior to set a boundry. This is normal, and somewhat frightening to those who observe as they little one gets very scared and yelpy, crying even bloody murder. Relax, its somewhat normal for this breed.
We only interfere if the pack takes it too far or to often. It is a ritual that has to be tolerated, even our older adults do this to each other, sometimes even with a few nicks on the face, yes pups to can get nicks. However, if you do not have a pack to deal with, just note, that this is typical pack behavior and you can check your pup with a bit a firmness, its just enough to wake them up and tell them who is boss. What ever you do with your firm loving hand, is most likely nicer than what a pack would do. So dont feel to guilty about your Alpha training ways.
This is the ideal time for a wolfdog pup going home to his new owner.
This is the very best age for forming strong bonds with people. Puppies are mentally mature enough to adjust to changes, and to begin their training in PACK manners. Research on this critical period has even pinpointed BEFORE THE 49th day as the ideal day for going into a new home.
Sometimes referred to as the "fear period," the wolfdog puppy is especially impressionable now. Object-associations formed during this period leave indelible imprints. It's vital that the puppy have as many positive experiences with people, other animals, and novel situations as can be arranged.
It's equally vital to avoid painful or scary experiences until after 11 weeks. Those mildly unpleasant experiences that can't be avoided (like puppy shots) should be turned into positive ones by your reaction. Always "jolly up" a scared puppy by laughing, praising the puppy, and treating the event as a game. Never give the appropriately human empathetic response of soothing reassurance, as this convinces the wolfdog puppy that it must be really awful since you're upset too.
This is a good time to enroll in puppy training classes or just start his training at home, crate training a plus. Classes will teach you how to teach your puppy how to learn. Make sure all training sessions are fun and successful. Take advantage of the puppy's dependence on you and strong desire to be near you to teach him to be reliable on "come."
Never punish a puppy, for any reason, if he has come to your call—or come to you at all! In fact, avoid trainers/training techniques which rely on punishment. Keep in mind, Alpha training is not the same, its a ritualistic game of setting a boundry. Get the puppy out into the world and expose him to as many new things and different ages, sexes and races of people as possible.
Always make sure you can control the situation so the experiences will be positive. Have the puppy on a leash so that you can intervene if anything threatens or frightens him.
When we train in the home, we always keep a leash on the pups neck, one to feel the weight and get used to it, dragging it. This should be done supervised as he could get caught up on something and hurt himself. See it as a mild conditioning for walking and taking lead directions. You will be surprised how easy this trains them to get to accepting the leash for walking.
This pre-adolescent wolfdog period is characterized by the gradual increase of independence and confidence. The puppy will venture further and further from you side, motivated by his own curiosity and increasing confidence in the world.
Continue training, in a class if possible. Begin incorporating distractions into your practice sessions.
Take the puppy with you everywhere! This period is very important in cementing a bond strong enough to withstand the trials of adolescence (right around the corner). Make certain your puppy is spayed or neutered by six months. There is no reason to allow the disruptive effects of sex hormones to complicate his/your life in a companion pet.
Even with the best preparation during wolfdog puppyhood, things will be "hairy" from time to time during this period. The wolfdog puppy/young dog's needs for stimulation, companionship and activity are very high, and his tolerance for boredom and inactivity are low.
This is the period in which sexual maturity is reached in unaltered animals. Guardians will experience testing
behaviors reminiscent of human teenagers.
Avoid situations in which the dog's occasional lapses of obedience could have harmful results, such as off-leash work in an unsecured area. Continue to provide safe opportunities for vigorous play and exercise, and safe toys to occupy teeth and mind when he's confined. This is
not the time to expect model behavior.
12–18 Months +
Somewhere during this period, your wolfdog will reach emotional maturity; sooner, with small breeds, and later for large dogs with wolfdogs this can be up to 2 years +. At that time, dogs with tendencies toward dominance will begin to assert themselves even more stronger, hoping to raise their status in the pack (your household). This behavior occurs within a structure of familiar relationships and only when the animal is approaching emotional maturity. Its important to have everyone in a household on the same page when it comes to training the wolfdog, that he will be the lowest on the totem pole in his pack order.
If not, living with a dominant wolfdog does not mean that the guardian (you) must "conquer" the dog, or give up attempts to control him. But challenges from the dog must be recognized immediately and taken seriously. This should be done from the very beginning in the pups life, as when it becomes adult can be harder to live with. With a puppy, you have the power to sculpt their ways...and personality, do so with great considerations to pleasing outcomes.
Punishment is not the appropriate method of dealing with this, aggression issue, and is likely to provoke a dangerous response in older adults, or adopted indigent adult animals. Stay calm, assertive, direct, and redirect. Remember any animal, can and will be aggressive if threatened or fearful. Key, dont challenge a animal, build into the relationship, also watch your aggressive play. Aggressive play can open the door to acceptable behaviors in the dogs mind. Dont let it go there, as he may feel the need to dominate thru play. To push the animal to fee it has to go there. Find others ways to play that will release the energy elsewhere....hello frisbe or ball....splashing in water ect.
Consult a competent behaviorist whenever the first warnings of dominance aggression manifest. Key is...start early...as possible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!